Daily Archives: March 20, 2013

Just so long as they don’t use a gun to do it

Deaths by firearmsConnecticut legislators take a break from their gun banning hysteria to consider state sanctioned suicide. Funny thing is, when it’s pointed out to the same people that two-thirds of the gun deaths they fret about are in fact suicides, they grow teary-eyed and moan about the sanctity of life, blah blah blah. So what’s changed? Probably the consideration of how much it costs to keep dying people alive at state expense.


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Greenwich Parking Authority gets a new toy from DHS to deal with improperly parked cars (and drivers)

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I believe we’ve passed the point of denial here in Connecticut, finally

Party's Over

Party’s Over

“Big” city mayors decry Malloy’s budget but offer no alternative to closing Two Billion Dollar deficit.

But they warned this morning that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed budget would still mean the loss of millions of dollars in funding, resulting in higher property taxes or further reductions in services.

Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia joined Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and their counterparts from Waterbury, New Haven and Hartford, along with municipal union leaders, in criticizing Malloy’s proposal.

While they believe the car-tax plan has been dropped by legislative leaders, the mayors are concerned that the multi-billion-dollar deficits facing the General Assembly would deeply affect cities.

“We’re here today to plead our case for a better budget from the Connecticut state Legislature,” Finch said in a Capitol news conference with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. He stressed that $9.6 million in funding cuts would result from the governor’s budget proposal, plus $17.5 million in car tax revenue.

The revenue loss, he said, is the equivalent of losing the salaries for 151 police officers, 177 firefighters, or 154 municipal workers. “What that means is another $154 a month from the average homeowner,” if a 3-mill tax hike resulted to fill the gap.

Pavia said that while his city’s shortfall would be much lower than the larger communities, it could still have wide-ranging effects, but if the car tax is eliminated, it could have a “staggering effect” on Stamford city services.

“I can’t envision the city of Stamford working on a part-time basis, but that is exactly what would happen,” Pavia said.

That’s all very sad, but Pavia and his pals are silent about any ideas they have to pay off the $140 million deficit in this year’s budget and the $2 billion hole looming in 2014. It’s been fun while it lasted but as people wiser than I have long pointed out, what can’t continue, won’t. The day of reckoning is here.

UPDATE: I was curious about our total budget that thee draconian cuts of Malloy’s are being sliced from. About $20 billion per year for the next two years, with $857 million new spending this year and $1.16 billion next.  And why is our unfunded pension fund obligation “just” $20 billion instead of $60? Because Malloy and, to be fair, the previous administrations use a hypothetical annual growth based on an impossible interest rate of 8.5%.


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Greenwich 3rd safest city in US?

So says this study. I certainly have always felt safe in town, at least until I started this blog.


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This is why we are armed

Deer jumps out of trunk, assaults officer. You can never be too careful.

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And yes, yet another sale

76 Riverside Lane76 Riverside Lane, asking $2.195, reports an accepted offer after three weeks on the market. Owners bought it new in 2002 for $1.429, did some extra work and tried for $2.495 in 2008. That didn’t work so they pulled it but when they returned to the market this past February, someone bit.

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Accepted offer reported


128 Weaver Street

128 Weaver Street

128 Weaver Street, asking $1.475 million, after starting a year ago April at $1.775. Owners bought it for $1.650 in 2003. I’ve always liked this 1848 antique, but on the west side of town, 2013 is not 2006. Not yet, anyway.

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A busy week in Hillcrest Park

16 Norton Lane

16 Norton Lane

Now No. 16 Norton is reported under contract. Started at $1.695 a long time ago, dropped to $1.395. I liked this house, my clients did not. For a contemporary it’s disappointingly dark inside, but I think if you stripped off the dark brown interior siding and maybe added a skylight or two you could solve that problem at minimal cost.

One thing my clients and I all agreed on is that it sits on a nice piece of land. In fact, I don’t understand how, with both parcels available, someone chose 19 Norton over this one at what is essentially the same price. But that’s what makes a horse race.

This one could go either way: land or house sale, depending on the buyer. It’s close to being priced at its land value alone, so if the buyer wants a free house he can keep it. Otherwise, he can toss it in the dumpster without (financial) regret.

Finally, a sale that fits into my sense of reality.


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Give Obama this much: we haven’t lost the respect of the world

There's gotta be a plug under here SOMEWHERE

There’s gotta be an electrical plug under here SOMEWHERE

Russia still thinks we’re too smart to be taking the actions we do by accident, so concludes that we must be wrecking the world on purpose.

If only.

In other news, Obama’s limousine has broken down in Israel because it was topped up with diesel, not gasoline. What happened to cooking oil and propeller beanies?

And speaking of fuel conservation and thrift, our “you can’t come into my house unless you’re Beyonce” President, has travelled to Israel with an entourage of 600 essential aides which, thankfully for the six remaining taxpayers in America, is fifteen fewer than went with him to golf with Tiger. It is good to be king; not so good to have one.


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They’re coming to take you away today ho ho, hey hey…


Book'em, Danno

Book’em, Danno

Child case workers, police, invade home where 11-year-old is reported to have received a (perfectly legal) .22 rifle for his birthday.

Shawn Moore said he gave his son Josh the gun as a present to use on hunting trips. The elder Moore was at a friend’s house when his wife called, saying state child welfare investigators, along with four local police officers, were at the house, asking to inspect the family’s guns.

Moore said he called his lawyer Evan Nappen, who specializes in Second Amendment cases, and had him on speakerphone as he arrived at his house in Carneys Point, just across the Delaware River from Wilmington, Del.

“They said they wanted to see into my safe and see if my guns were registered,” Moore said. “I said no; in New Jersey, your guns don’t have to be registered with the state; it’s voluntary. I knew once I opened that safe, there was no going back.”

With the lawyer listening in on the phone, Moore said he asked the investigators and police officers whether they had a warrant to search his home. When they said no, he asked them to leave. One of the child welfare officials would not identify herself when Moore asked for her name, he said.

The agents and the police officers left, and nothing has happened since, he said.

“I don’t like what happened,” he said. “You’re not even safe in your own house. If they can just show up at any time and make you open safes and go through your house, that’s not freedom; it’s like tyranny.”
That’s not “like” tyranny, it is tyranny. And getting worse.


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Where’s Elizabeth Warren when her people need her?


Fundraising for the Shoshones

Fundraising for the Shoshones

Department of Education savages aid to Indians while creating six new, $100,000+ jobs to create “Educational Excellence for Black Folk” initiative.

But in Washington, education funding cuts did not stop the appointment this month of a former elementary school teacher and aide to Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. to the job of executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans. David Johns was given the newly created job, where he will be “asked to identify evidence-based best practices to improve African-American student achievement from cradle to career,” according to the Department of Education.

The goal of the initiative is to work with federal, state and local agencies, as well as community groups, to “produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African-American students.”

Outside the beltway, budget cuts are taking a visible toll. The department must cut 5 percent from all education programs to comply with the Budget Control Act, commonly known as sequestration. While most school districts are funded with local taxes, those on tax-exempt Native American lands depend on federal funding.

The selective austerity shown by the Department of Education and other federal agencies shows the Obama administration is trying to emphasize the budget cuts’ effect on the public, said Kyle Olson, founder of the Michigan-based education watchdog Education Action Group.

“It seems like there’s no rhyme or reason for the cuts that they’re making,” Olson said. “They are trying to maximize the public effect — the pain — in order to make their point. But the fact of the matter is, the sequester is not a cut, it is a reduction in the rate of growth. The choices they’re making are absurd.”


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I no sooner ask the question than I receive an answer

19 Norton Lane

19 Norton Lane

19 Norton Lane, Hillcrest Park, reports a contract – asking price $1.295 million. This came on just last week and I saw it at its first open house last Thursday. What I saw was a 1967 builder’s colonial seemingly untouched since birth, perched on a hilly slope and with minimal potential. Someone else obviously felt differently and good for them, but it’s getting very hard to estimate value in this heated market. Greater fools, or just wise buyers who can see where the market’s headed?

I’m beginning to feel like those Wall Street bears who watched the dot.com boom from the sidelines because they could predict with certainty how it would end. What they couldn’t, or didn’t predict was how long the dot com mania would last, so they missed out on some very, very substantial gains and lost most of their clients because of it.

I’m not ready to throw in the towel and urge you to buy into this feeding frenzy, but I now understand how frustrated and confounded those bears must have felt in the late 90s.

UPDATE: It does occur to me that the big difference between stocks and houses is that the former is liquid, the latter is not. If you sense a crash coming in Puppyfood.com you can bail in seconds – harder to do with 5,000 square feet of limber and sheetrock that nobody wants.


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Time to buy Greenwich real estate?

Greenwich Real EstateIf contrarians (that would include this blogger) see the end drawing near when former bears turn bullish, what to make of brother Gideon’s diversion from the sunny side of life to list some of the most dramatic hits taken on Greenwich real estate the past 12 months? If Gideon’s glum, the skies must be clearing.

By the way, the photo used here, that of our “GAR Realtor of the Year” was posted by Gideon in a pathetic attempt to boost his readership hits. I myself would never stoop to such a low level of self-promotion, and I reprint it here just to show the lengths to which some bloggers will go to lure people in. So sad.


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Tax Day reflections

It's supposed to hurt - youNew BET member,  Democrat John Blankley

Taxes are supposed to hurt – you.
New BET member, Democrat John Blankley

Link here to a Wall Street Journal column, just in time for April 15th:

The two policies that national Democrats blame for massively unbalanced federal budgets—the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—have been largely repealed. Yet deficits are projected to average $700 billion a year over the next decade before rising again to $1 trillion.

So as the Senate and House take up competing budgets this week, President Obama and his congressional allies have renewed their demands for more revenue. The claim is that taxes remain far below historical norms, despite the recent rise in tax rates.

Well, yes, federal revenues have averaged only 15.3% of GDP over the past four years, the lowest share in 60 years. But that did not happen because tax rates are too low. Federal revenues are down because economic growth is too slow.

This simple distinction is profoundly important. Even small economic changes are powerful enough to dwarf the tax-policy differences dividing Republicans and Democrats. …

A more progressive tax code now leverages the negative impact of slow economic growth. The share of all individual income taxes paid by the top 1% has risen to 41.8% in 2008 from 17.4% in 1980—but almost two-thirds of the income from the top 1% comes from nonwage income, including capital gains, dividends and proprietor’s profits. …

The country’s fiscal condition thus poses a choice for Democrats. They can harvest a great deal of revenue by making peace with a profitable and growing economy and with those productive individuals who create such an economy. Or they can embrace new taxes on both upper- and middle-income earners that will restrain economic growth. The latter course will make it harder and harder to raise the revenue that Democrats demand to fund the government they love.


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Oh, where will they stay? Where WILL they stay?


Under new ownership

Under new ownership

Walt and Monica clear out of Palm Beach. $6.6 million – after purchase cost ($4.4) plus renovations and transaction costs they maybe will net just a million or so, but that’s a far better return on their 2006 investment than any of Walt’s customers got.

With the old dump on Round Hill Road also seemingly headed for new ownership – creditor or buyer is unknown, so far – and the Mustique villa rumored to be going, that will leave the crooks just a few properties left in which to hide out. Of course there’s always son-in-law Andre’s yacht to escape on.


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Injury statistics in perspective, Center for Disease Control, 2007

(Click to enlarge)

Using Info Diva’s supplied statistic that 40 children a day are injured by guns, 14,600 are wounded per year. That compares to:

bicycle injures, ages ages 5-9: 95,871

unintentional falls, 0-14: 2,158,528

unintentional strike by/against, 1,383,054

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 5.59.02 AM

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